Messi signs new contract and becomes world's highest-paid player

Posted May 19, 2014 by Tyrrell Meertins
Lionel Messi is staying at the Camp Nou. Days after conceding the La Liga title to Atletico Madrid, the Argentine striker penned a revised deal that will see him become the world's highest-paid footballer.
Barcelona s Messi celebrates after scoring a goal against Manchester City during their Champions Lea...
Barcelona's Messi celebrates after scoring a goal against Manchester City during their Champions League last 16 second leg soccer match
Messi, 26, is currently coming off an injury-riddled campaign with Barcelona and there was heavy speculation regarding a possible move abroad. Still, Messi recorded 41 goals in 46 appearances and the Catalan club was eager to keep arguably the best footballer in the world at the Camp Nou.
The 26-year-old’s revised contract –– that includes a $343 million buy-out clause –– expires in 2018, but the Argentine will now receive a five million dollar wage increase to boost his yearly salary to approximately $27 million a year.
Earlier today, Messi issued an apology to Barcelona fans for a trophyless season, and expressed his desire to remain with the Catalan club via Chinese social network Weibo.
“With respect to myself, I’m very happy to stay here at my home, as I’ve always said. Maybe this year wasn’t what we’d expected and it wasn’t my best either, but I’m convinced, just like the rest of the group and personally too, that things will be different,” Messi said.
“It’s the people of Barcelona who decide my future, but my choice is to continue because I still feel the same affection from them as always. Even if that wasn’t the case, I’d still seek a solution, because I always want the best for this club.”
Messi is currently Barcelona’s all-time leading goal-scorer with 354 goals in 425 appearances during his 10-year spell with the club, and along with three Champions League crowns and six La Liga titles, the Argentine has claimed a record high four Ballon d’Or honours.
Meanwhile, Barcelona also announced the managerial appointment of former midfielder Luis Enrique. The appointment comes a day after former manager Gerardo Martino came to an agreement with the club to grant his departure.
Enrique, who won two La Liga titles, Copa del Reys and a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, will return to the Camp Nou following the club’s first trophyless season in six years.
The 44-year-old succeeded Pep Guardiola as Barcelona B manager, and in 2010 he led the club to promotion to the Spanish second division for the first time. And despite an underwhelming spell with Roma –– where Enrique wasn't given the time or resources to successfully implement his philosophy –– a year away from football saw the 44-year-old guide Sporting Gijon to a ninth place finish this season.
The former Barcelona captain will also be pleased to hear that Barcelona completed the signing of 22-year-old goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen –– which is key because Jose Pinto and Victor Valdes will exit the club this summer –– while Gerard Deulofeu and Rafa Alcantara will return from their loan spells with Everton and Celta Vigo.
Enrique will follow in the footsteps of Guardiola in being the club’s captain, B team coach and first-team manager, as he aims to exceed the unparalleled standards set by his former teammate.